Ann Marie Martin


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 9/14/2020

Photo by Pushok via Pixabay

Do you buy plants for your home – just to find them shriveled up and browning just a few short days later? You may be purchasing plants that require too much care – or that are known for being tricky to keep alive.

Whether you’ve been cursed with a black thumb, have a busy schedule (that barely allows time to care for yourself, let alone plants) or are simply new to house plants, the following varieties may serve you best.

5 Plants that are Tough to Kill

Jade Plant: This emerald beauty looks stunning in just about any planter and is ideal for a desktop or tabletop. It is also nearly impossible to kill with neglect. The jade plant grows so well that simply poking a cutting of it into the soil will result in a new plant.

Air Plants: They don’t need dirt to survive – and need only occasional mists of water. If your plants die because you are too busy to care for them (or you simply forget about them) consider trying some air plants instead. These small beauties are particularly fun to work with, too. Tiny, artisanal pods, planters and baskets designed specifically for air plants can be found from a variety of vendors and make unique home accents.

Barrel Cactus: Most succulents are tough to kill, but this variety is particularly hardy. Round with large spikes, a barrel cactus stores water so it does not need to be cared for often at all. It also has natural defenses against pets and other plant predators, those spikes make it difficult and uncomfortable to pick up, but don’t cause lasting damage. Shallow roots make this one easy to transplant as it grows and ensure it can thrive even if left unpotted for days.

Aloe: This fast-growing, low care beauty has some medicinal properties, too. Just snap off a stem to treat sunburn or other mild burns. While aloe is incredibly easy to grow and care for, it is toxic to pets, so try this one as an office plant if you have pets at home. Short of setting it on fire, you can’t kill this one.

Spider Plant: This is a houseplant staple, and it is easy to see why. Spider plants are powerful air purifiers, very difficult to kill and even produce their own offspring. You can forget to water this one for days at a time (weeks in cooler weather) and it will not only survive, but grow and thrive. Spider plants are inexpensive and available pretty much anywhere plants are sold, so this is a solid choice if you are new to houseplants or have a few victims to show for your plant growing efforts.

Choosing one of these varieties can make it easier for you to enjoy the benefits of having houseplants, without the guilt that comes from throwing away another shriveled, dried up victim.




Categories: Indoor Garden  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 9/10/2020

This Single-Family in Wilbraham, MA recently sold for $224,000. This Ranch style home was sold by Ann Marie Martin - Landmark, Realtors.


8 Opal St, Wilbraham, MA 01095

Single-Family

$215,000
Price
$224,000
Sale Price

5
Rooms
2
Beds
1
Baths
Charming Brick home in a great location of town. This home features a new updated kitchen, new cabinets, all new appliances, bathroom, new windows, and new furnace within the past 4 years. Good size Living Room with lots of light. One bedroom is used now as a laundry room with washer and dryer, there is also washer hook up in the basement. The home office has nice hardwood floors and can be used as a 3rd bedroom, (no closet). There is so much potential and opportunity with this home, basement is finished for extra room if needed. Nice very large yard with front yard sprinkler system. New central A/C, for these long hot summer days. Walk up attic with plenty of storage. Large 2 car attached garage with openers. This is the one. Bring your ideas a make it your new home.

Similar Properties





Categories: Sold Homes  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 9/7/2020

Photo by Roman Samborskyi via Shutterstock

Buying your first home is exciting! And scary! But you don’t have to fear the process if you take the time to become fully prepared for homeownership. Below are the seven primary keys to preparing yourself and smoothing the process.

How to Know You’re Ready

  • Determine how much you can afford. The first step to homeownership is figuring out what fits your current budget. Note that although your income may go up over time, buying a home, speculating that you’ll make more money and can afford a bigger payment is a recipe for disaster. In general, you don’t want your housing costs (mortgage payment, insurance, property taxes, HOA) to be more than 25% of your take-home pay.
  • Research which mortgages can save you the most money. A conventional loan, with at least 20% for a down payment, lets you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). That’s an extra reduction in monthly outgo, so strive to hit that mark. If you can’t afford twenty percent, put at least ten percent down. Less than that means your monthly outflow is higher in both the mortgage payment and the PMI. You’ll also pay more interest over time. You’ll save the most by putting more down and reducing the life of the loan to 15 years or fewer even though your monthly payment is higher. Remember that closing costs and moving take a chunk out of your saved-up cash, too.
  • Get pre-approved. Any lender can “pre-qualify” you for a loan, but those aren’t guaranteed. They’re just an estimate based on your self-reported income and assets. Pre-approval takes more effort, but the numbers accurately reflect the size of the mortgage you qualify for and what you can pay for a house. Find a great real estate agent. Once you’ve set your maximum budget and have a pre-qualification letter, your real estate agent can work with those numbers to find you the perfect home. Make sure you choose a qualified buyer’s agent that represents you, not the seller. You also want someone experienced in helping first-time buyers. Typically, the seller covers all the agent’s commissions, so you’re getting their expertise for free!
  • Discover the right neighborhood for you. Buying the right house in the wrong neighborhood leads to buyer’s remorse and dissatisfaction. You need to decide what you want in the neighborhood, not just the house. Do you need playgrounds? A school your child can walk to? Other families nearby? Culs-de-sac instead of through-streets? All of these are important to consider before making a decision.
  • Lock down the house. When you know where you want to live and find a house there, don’t fudge when making an offer. With the guidance of your agent, submit a solid offer that the seller respects and will consider, but leave room to negotiate. When you receive a counteroffer, consider it carefully and request concessions such as asking the seller to leave the appliances or furnishings. Your offer is legally binding, so you want to take care with what you include.
  • Know what to expect once you get the keys. In addition to your monthly payments of principal and interest, property taxes, insurance, and HOA dues, owning a home brings other costs. These include ongoing maintenance, repairs, lawn care and landscaping. If your new home is considerably larger than where you currently live, you’ll also have increased utility costs to factor into the mix.

If you’ve worked your way through the first items on the list and you’re ready to find the right real estate agent, reach out today.




Categories: Homebuyer  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 8/31/2020

Sharing living expenses with your partner or roommates can be a difficult and confusing issue for many.

 Life would be made much easier if there was just one bill to pay on your home that includes everything.

 Recently there have been attempts to bring such a suction into fruition. Many homeowners and renters have turned to apps that help them split expenses, or have signed up for mortgage agreements that cover stray expenses like property tax and private mortgage insurance.

 In this article, we're going to give you a few tips on splitting the bills in your home to make things easier for you, your spouse, and your roommates.

Who pays what?

Many young couples are often left wondering who should pay which bill, especially when you share so many services.>

However, there's a big difference between sharing a Netflix account and sharing a car. One solution is to use the bills that report to credit agencies for whoever needs help building their credit score.

Putting credit cards under the person with the lowest score’s name can help them build credit even if they're simply listed as an “authorized user” which means you can take advantage of good interest rates and build credit at the same time.

Paying the mortgage

It can quickly become tiresome having to write two different checks each month for your mortgage or rent. To solve this problem, you can either alternate payments (you pay a full month’s rent or mortgage one month and your spouse pays the following month), or you can choose to pay bi-weekly, which will help you pay off your mortgage sooner.

The best apps to use

If you live with your spouse, you likely aren’t overly concerned with splitting all of your expenses 50/50. Chances are whoever has the higher income will foot the bill for the larger expenses.

However, if you have roommates there’s a bigger chance you’ll want things to be split evenly between you and the other members of the household. That’s where apps come in handy.

First, sit down with your roommates and go over all expenses. Write down each bill that you share: rent, heat, electricity, cable, internet, gas, insurance, and so on.

Then, decide who is responsible for making the payment on those bills. Even if you decide to split them all evenly, one person will have to be responsible for sending out the check each month.

Once you’ve determined which bills you have and who is going to pay them, it’s time to find out how you’re all going to contribute.

One way is to open up a shared account. Doing so can be messy, however, if you’re using that account for multiple bills. Some banks and services also charge a portion of the transfer, so you’ll each be losing money each month, and the amount depends on how many bills you have.

Some apps and services you can use to split bills and transfer money include Splitwise, Mint, PayPal, and Chase’s QuickPay. The benefit of apps that don’t transfer money is that they are often free and don’t collect transfer fees. So, if you’re comfortable with handling money by hand, you could save in the long run.




Categories: expenses   splitting costs  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 8/24/2020

Photo by New Africa via Shutterstock

As a homeowner you know there is a lot of upkeep that goes into maintaining a nice home. From weekly cleaning to monthly home maintenance, you put in time, money and effort to give yourself the home life experience you desire. The best living environment to come home to is one that is clean and smells fresh. Try these three easy products to help your home on a daily basis.

Scent Diffusers

Maintaining a home that smells good can be tough. Especially if you live with a family or housemates. There are a lot of different scents, messes, cleaning products and more going on at the same time. Scent diffusers come in all different styles and sizes and can be used throughout the house to give your home consistently fresh and odor-free air. Try a refillable spraying deodorizer in areas of high traffic, or in the mudroom where you leave all the shoes. Use melted wax diffusers in living rooms and bedrooms to add a touch of décor while emitting scent. 

Finally, use oil diffusers in the bathroom to fight odors.TIP: If you can purchase different styles of diffusers that can support scents by the same brand(s) you can use the same smells throughout the house, or at least in adjacent rooms where two conflicting smells might overlap and combine poorly.

Toilet Tank Tabs

One of the biggest pains in keeping a house clean is the toilet. It is an area that always needs attention, especially if you live with others. While you’ll never be able to skip the weekly bathroom cleaning, using cleaning tabs in the toilet tank will help immensely on a daily basis. These tabs contain chemicals to combat bacteria, hard water and stains.

You can normally buy a small pack that lasts a couple months or get great deals on bulk packs that will last you all year. Simply drop the tab in the back of the tank, and the toilet gets a little extra cleaning help with every flush. This will help keep the bathroom cleaner and smelling better every day.

Robot Vacuum Cleaner

While this purchase can drastically vary in price, it is an excellent investment that saves you time while helping maintain the home. You can spring for an expensive robot vacuum, but there are plenty of affordable options as well. Having a device that cleans the house while you’re gone or working on other projects is a huge help.

If you have children, pets or housemates it cuts down drastically on the dirt, debris and hair floating around the place. With the help of a robot vacuum you can reduce your sweeping, vacuuming and mopping needs without sacrificing cleanliness.

By making smart home purchases, you can increase your quality of living without breaking the budget or your back cleaning. Ask your real estate agent for advice on the best purchases to keep your home beautiful for your next showing.




Tags: cleaning tips   kitchen   bath  
Categories: Home improvement